Ahead of Manchester United’s game against historic rivals Leeds United, Fred spoke to Sky Sports about fake rumours and online abuse.
Rumours of Fred being unhappy at the club
In early January, it was reported around the new year that many players were not happy at the club. There were and continue to be rumours of dressing-room unrest, with different freindship groups and big personalities allegedly clashing behind the scenes.
On the 7th of January, Fred took to social media to deny these rumours at the time.
“I just want to say that I am very happy here and I have never expressed any dissatisfaction and the possibility of leaving the club,” he said online. “Don’t get misled by fake news. We will continue to work with great dedication to pursue our goals.”
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s hotly anticipated clash against Leeds United, Fred one again addressed these reports: “a lot of people say a lot of things and at times people believe fake news. It wasn’t the first time that fake things had been said about me.“
Speaking about his tweets, he detailed “we had been going through a difficult period at the club at the time and these rumours came out about me wanting to leave and being unhappy. They were untrue, so I felt it was time to speak up.
“I needed to tell the fans I was 100 per cent committed to the club and that I had no intention of leaving. It was the right time to speak, I think. I don’t like talking much on social media but on that occasion I felt I had to show the fans my desire to stay at the club.”
A lot of United players have faced a torrent of unwarented abuse recently, be it racial abuse, islamaphobic hatred or otherwise.
“There are people who can say things, people in the media, and people who talk about subjects they don’t really understand, so you have to prove them wrong,” he explained.
“But motivation doesn’t just come from others. For me, it was more about doing it for myself. I already know when I can better, so I just needed to stay focused. I grew, I learned a lot and that’s what has got me where I am today, doing very well here. Now I can get with things calmly and do my work in a relaxed way.”
Dressing room unrest?
“Our dressing room is really good,” says Fred to Sky Sports. “There’s a lot of fake news and a lot of rumours surrounding it but it’s great. We work together and we all have the same goals and objectives.“
Fred does acknowledge the tough task that Ralf Rangnick has in keeping a good balance in the dressing room: “It’s not easy for the manager to keep everyone happy because everyone wants to play and we have so many good players. But we understand each other.
“We have developed harmony in the dressing room and I think that’s the most important thing we have.
“We have maximum respect for each other in the dressing room.”
It’s no suprise that Fred is one of the most popular people in the Manchester United locker room. He is always walking around with that infectious smile of his, and he says it’s no accident that he does so.
“I think it’s important to bring some joy to the dressing room,” he says. “Some players can get frustrated or annoyed sometimes so I try to create a positive atmosphere and make things lively, whether that’s by putting on music or whatever else.
“I always try to bring happiness and good energy.“
Despite the constant rumours of dressing room trouble, clashes between leaders and reports of strong cliques fighting for superiority within the club’s squad, Fred sheds a new light on the situation.
Fred is much more well placed to speak on the climate of the dressing room right now – but regardless of who you believe, I’m sure we all just want to see the squad stick together and fight for and selvage what’s left of the club’s season.